Is There a Future for Jeeps in the Military?

Date 2002/1/18 0:00:00 | Topic: Miscellaneous


One of our faithful readers recently sent us some of his thoughts regarding Jeeps in the military (or lack thereof!). With his approval, we've decided to share his emails with the rest of our readers as to encourage some discussion (debate).

Mike,

It might be interesting to start a discussion as to why there are so few
Jeeps (the hero and icon of WW II) being used by the military these days.

If you turn on CNN, or any news station you see clips of our soldiers riding
mostly ATVs over in Afghanistan. Jeeps are rarely if ever to be found from
what I've seen. Even HUMMERS are rarely seen. One would think that the rocky
terrain over there would be ideal for Jeep to showcase their abilities.
Apparently that's not the case...

Some questions to be considered:

Are ATVs better than (military-spec) Wranglers for these missions?

And if so, why hasn't Jeep been more aggressive in developing a more modern
(or effective) wartime vehicle?

Most readers, from what I've read here, seem to feel that Jeeps - especially
Wranglers, can't be beat for off-road driving and durability. Apparently our
military doesn't share those same feelings. Why?

Looking at the global off-road picture, and from what I've read in other
international forums, Jeeps are not nearly as prized overseas as they are
here in the USA. Why?

Overseas, the Toyota Land Cruiser, in one of its many various forms, seems
to be the vehicle of choice for serious off-roading, and not Jeep. Why?

Lastly, is Jeep - especially the Wrangler - a hostage of its own image? By
that I mean, has it not been allowed to "evolve" because "customers like it
the way it is," and don't want it to change? And if so, has that hurt Jeep,
so that it is really considered by many to be more of a "historical artifact,"
 rather than the premier off-roader that its owners "think" it is?

How long do you think it will be before we see street-legal,
multi-passenger ATVs?

Most Jeepers take delight in making fun of the Honda CRV, because it's
"car-based." But we all know Honda also makes some formidable ATVs. If Honda
(or anyone else) should decide to build a larger, street-legal,
multi-passenger ATV/SUV, evolving from ATVs - and not cars, that would hit hard
at the heart of the Wrangler market.

Think it can't or won't happen? Take a look at the ATV's close cousin, the
Jet Ski. These first started off being small, single passenger play toys. Now
you can get them in larger multi-passenger versions, as well as larger-still
boats using the Jet Ski propulsion principle. These compete for sales
directly with "traditional" small sport boats.

The same thing could happen with ATVs. And, if this should happen, they will
be taken seriously because many current ATV owners also own Jeeps; so there
will be a receptive audience, not a hostile audience.

So, what does Jeep need do to stay ahead of the game?

...Should make for some stimulating discussions...

Bob

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